Laddonia is just like a lot of towns in North Missouri. It’s small with about 500 folks who call it home. It’s your average, rural community that’s had an unmatched love for family, God, and country since 1871. Unfortunately, like a lot of small towns, they’ve been handed a laundry-list of regulations to comply with, dreamed up by a bunch of bureaucrats in Washington.
The EPA gave the City of Laddonia an ultimatum—make major changes to your wastewater system or else. So, the city complied and spent $2 million dollars to make the requested improvements. That doesn’t include the money they had to subsequently spend for additional compliance. All told, that works out to just over $4500 per person.
Worse still, under the current law, those fixes will only stave off the EPA for 5 years—at which point the Washington bureaucrats could return, demanding the people of Laddonia fork over an even larger sum of money to comply with whatever new regulations they’ve dreamed up. That’s right, the EPA will be right back, demanding more expensive upgrades before folks can even begin to pay off what the bureaucrats demanded last time.
This isn’t just a problem in Laddonia—it’s a problem for small towns across Missouri, and America. It’s ridiculous, it’s unfair, and it punishes our small, rural communities who continue to spend untold sums of money to comply with the latest regulations coming out of Washington. Thankfully, President Trump has placed a focus on cutting bad regulations. But, many can’t be undone overnight. For years I’ve been working to ease the burden on rural America by pushing for longer EPA permit lengths and giving communities more resources to comply with these costly regulations.
Earlier this month, we got some good news. We were finally able to get a bill moving that could add up to 5 more years to the standard permit length—roughly doubling it. Many small towns apply for funding through a loan fund to upgrade their water and sewer systems. In this same bill, I was able to make sure more funding is set aside specifically to help our rural communities.
Just as the case is with the federal government most of the time, a little common sense would go a long way towards fixing this problem. Extending these permit lengths and making it easier for rural communities to get help footing the bill to comply with these costly regulations doesn’t fix the problem, but it’s a big step in the right direction. I’ll keep fighting to get the government off our backs and make sure we protect our rural communities.
Sam Graves is the Mo. Sixth District U.S. Representative.